TITLE 9

Counties

County Officers

CHAPTER 93. COUNTY COMPTROLLERS


There shall be a County Comptroller for Kent County who shall be a resident of the County. The Comptroller shall be elected at the general election in each 4th year at which the Governor is elected, by the voters of the County qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly. The Comptroller shall hold office for the term of 4 years, commencing on the 1st Tuesday in January next succeeding the Comptroller election, or until the Comptroller successor shall be duly qualified.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 16; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; Code 1915, § 1273; Code 1935, § 1476; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9301; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 28A; 65 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Before entering upon the duties of the county comptroller's office, the county comptroller shall give bond to the State with 1 or more sureties to be approved by the Resident Judge of the Superior Court of the State of the county of the comptroller, in the sum of $10,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of the office, and such bond shall have attached thereto a warrant for the confession of judgment thereon.

(b) The bond and warrant shall be forthwith transmitted by the Judge to the clerk of the peace of his or her county, to be by the clerk of the peace recorded and safely kept. The clerk of the peace, whenever in his or her judgment the public interest demands, or whenever the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or the elected officials of the county governing body or a majority of them shall so request, shall cause judgment to be entered on the bond in the Superior Court of the county of the comptroller.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 16; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; Code 1915, § 1273; Code 1935, § 1476; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9302; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 7.;

Every person elected or appointed to the office of county comptroller shall, before entering upon the duties of that person's office, take and subscribe before the Resident Judge of the Superior Court the oath or affirmation prescribed by the Constitution.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 16; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; Code 1915, § 1273; Code 1935, § 1476; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9303; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 8.;

In case of the death, resignation, refusal to act, inability to give bond, or removal from office of any person elected or appointed comptroller, or whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office from any cause, the Governor shall appoint a competent person to act as county comptroller during the residue of the term in which the vacancy shall happen, and such person so appointed shall be subject to all the provisions of law respecting the office.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, §§ 16, 20; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, §§ 1, 5; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, §§ 1, 5; Code 1915, §§ 1273, 1276; Code 1935, §§ 1476, 1479; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9304.;

(a) The county comptroller shall audit all the accounts of the county government and countersign all warrants drawn by order of the county government for the payment of money.

(b) No money shall be paid out of the county treasury for county purposes except on warrants drawn by order of the county government signed by the President of the county government and countersigned by the comptroller. Interest coupons on the bonded debt of the county shall be paid on presentation.

(c) The comptroller shall also, at least once in every month, inspect the books and accounts of the receivers of taxes and county treasurers in each of the counties, respectively, and audit the same and report the result of such audit to the county government. Such audit shall be made at the offices of the receivers of taxes and county treasurers, respectively.

(d) The comptroller shall annually audit, inspect and examine the books, accounts, papers, records and dockets of the following officers of the comptroller's county: clerk of the peace, sheriff, recorder, register of wills and other county officers, and ascertain the amount due the comptroller's county in fees; and the comptroller shall report in writing to the county government of the comptroller's county. The county government shall cause such report to be entered at large upon its minutes and published in pamphlet form for distribution.

(e) Annually the Comptroller for Kent County shall examine the books of all public institutions within the County which are supported wholly or in part by such County, and shall report the result of such audit to the county government.

(f) The comptroller shall also keep a book or books of accounts, in which shall be entered all items of expenditure, all warrants drawn, to whom made payable and for what particular work or other cause. All written contracts made by the county government shall be deposited in the comptroller's custody and he or she shall enter all such contracts upon the comptroller's books.

(g) The comptroller, before countersigning any warrant, shall inquire into and carefully investigate the transaction in relation to which any such warrants shall have been drawn; and to this end the comptroller may issue summons for and compel the attendance of witnesses, the production of books and papers pertinent to the transaction, administer oaths and affirmations, and ascertain the truth of the transaction so to be inquired into.

(h) All bills shall, before allowance by the county government, be audited and marked "correct'' by the comptroller, and no bill shall be passed by the county government without such endorsement. In case the comptroller shall refuse to allow any item of expenditure, or to countersign any warrant, or to endorse any bill the comptroller shall forthwith transmit to the county government his or her reasons therefor in writing, which shall thereupon be duly considered, and if his or her action shall be overruled by a vote of a majority of the elected officials of the county governing body, the comptroller shall allow the expenditure and countersign the warrant, or endorse the bill in conformity with the judgment of such officials, in which case the comptroller shall be exonerated from any responsibility in the premises. The receivers of taxes and county treasurers, respectively, shall not disburse any money upon warrants drawn by order of the county government, except such warrants as have been duly signed by the President of the county government and countersigned by the county comptroller.

(i) The comptroller may adopt a facsimile of his or her signature, in lieu of his usual signature, and affix such facsimile to any check, draft, warrant, voucher or other instrument for the payment of money that the comptroller is required to sign. Notice of the adoption of any such facsimile signature shall be given in writing to the depository from which funds are to be withdrawn which notice shall include a description of such facsimile signature. Prior to use of such facsimile, the written approval of such depository must be obtained.

(j) Any depository, bank or other person which in good faith gives value for any check, draft, warrant, voucher or other instrument for the payment of money bearing a duly adopted facsimile signature as authorized hereby shall be fully protected in such giving of value notwithstanding that the facsimile signature shall have been affixed without the authority or knowledge of the person whose signature it should purport to be.

(k) No person shall fraudulently imitate or duplicate or attempt to fraudulently imitate or duplicate the facsimile signature of the county comptroller who is permitted in the performance of his or her duties to affix his or her signature to checks, drafts, warrants, vouchers or other instruments for the payment of money, nor shall any person cause any such genuine facsimile signatures to be printed or impressed to checks, drafts, warrants, vouchers or other instruments for the payment of money, without the authority of said person so authorized.

(l) No provision hereof shall release the liability of any public official, employee or other person for loss of funds occasioned by any unauthorized use or misuse of a duly adopted facsimile signature. All officials may protect themselves from loss, damage or expense occasioned by the unauthorized use of such facsimile signature by purchasing, at public expense, a surety bond or insurance in such amount as is approved by the county government.

(m) Any person violating subsection (k) of this section shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for a term not to exceed 5 years, and/or fined not less than $500 nor more than $2,500, or both, in the discretion of the court.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, §§ 12, 17; 20 Del. Laws, c. 386, § 1; 22 Del. Laws, c. 273, § 3; 23 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 5; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, §§ 2, 8; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, §§ 2, 8; 27 Del. Laws, c. 93, § 1; 27 Del. Laws, c. 275; Code 1915, § 1274; Code 1935, § 1477; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9305; 54 Del. Laws, c. 76; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 28B; 69 Del. Laws, c. 453, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 4.;

(a) In Kent County the Comptroller of Kent County shall receive a salary in an amount to be set by ordinance of the Kent County Levy Court.

(b) The salary of the Comptroller shall be paid by warrants drawn upon the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer for the County.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 20; 24 Del. Laws, c. 80, § 1; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 5; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 5; 27 Del. Laws, c. 94, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 1275, 1438; 29 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; 31 Del. Laws, c. 15, § 1; 32 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 35 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 1; Code 1935, § 1478; 43 Del. Laws, c. 115, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 96, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 139, § 1; 46 Del. Laws, c. 298, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 153, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9306; 49 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 3; 49 Del. Laws, c. 310; 50 Del. Laws, c. 423, § 1; 52 Del. Laws, c. 174, § 9; 53 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 1; 53 Del. Laws, c. 222, § 2; 54 Del. Laws, c. 23, § 3; 54 Del. Laws, c. 203, § 3; 54 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 2; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 28C; 57 Del. Laws, c. 692, § 4; 61 Del. Laws, c. 506, § 3; 65 Del. Laws, c. 163, § 5; 65 Del. Laws, c. 358, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 255, § 3.;

(a) The Comptroller of Sussex County may select and employ 1 deputy.

(b) The salary of the Deputy Comptroller of Sussex County shall be $1,200 per year.

(c) The Comptroller of Kent County may employ such deputies as are authorized by the county government of Kent County at compensations fixed by such county government. In Kent County, minimum qualifications may be established by the county government for each position, and said minimum qualifications and compensation and any subsequent adjustments there shall have the concurrence of the comptroller.

30 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; 35 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 1; Code 1935, § 1478; 43 Del. Laws, c. 115, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 96, § 1; 44 Del. Laws, c. 97, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 109, §§ 1, 2; 45 Del. Laws, c. 139; 46 Del. Laws, c. 298, §§ 1, 2; 47 Del. Laws, c. 192; 48 Del. Laws, c. 153, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9307; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 28D; 57 Del. Laws, c. 557; 65 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 45, § 2.;

(a) The Comptroller of New Castle County may select and employ 2 assistant chief deputies, 1 machine operator, 1 junior accountant, 1 secretary (stenographic) and 1 chief clerk (general), in addition to the Chief Deputy Comptroller.

(b) Any county comptroller may select and employ such additional clerical assistance as the government of his or her county may approve.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 21; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 6; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 6; Code 1915, § 1275; 29 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; Code 1935, § 1478; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9308; 53 Del. Laws, c. 8; 53 Del. Laws, c. 236; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Any county comptroller appointed or elected under the provisions of this chapter may be removed from office by the Superior Court in the county, respectively, wherein the comptroller holds office, after trial and conviction upon charges of wilful neglect or malfeasance in office.

19 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 20; 26 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 5; 26 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 5; Code 1915, § 1276; Code 1935, § 1479; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9309.;

(a) The Governor shall appoint the County Comptroller of Sussex County a special notary public, with power to perform the duties of a notary public in taking affidavits of county officers and acknowledgments of deeds and other papers by any official of the County. This work shall be done without charge.

(b) The commission of such County Comptroller, as notary public, shall expire on the date of the expiration of his or her commission as County Comptroller, or when the office of County Comptroller shall become vacant by resignation, removal or otherwise.

Code 1915, § 1274A; 29 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 1; Code 1935, § 1477; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9310; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The comptroller shall countersign warrants of the county government, after having verified the calculation entering into the sum payable thereon. The comptroller may, however, return a warrant without countersigning same, stating the comptroller's objections thereto in writing, and thereupon the county government shall act again and may direct the comptroller's countersignature.

31 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 10; Code 1935, § 1190; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 9311; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In the construction of the provisions of this chapter, the powers and duties assigned to the Comptroller shall not be applicable to Sussex County and to such extent are repealed. This section shall take effect at the expiration of the term of the person presently holding the office of the Comptroller of Sussex County. Prior to the expiration of that term, the County Comptroller shall continue to hold office and perform, under the direction and control of the Department of Finance, the functions assigned to that Comptroller by law prior to the enactment of this statute.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 9312; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 27; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;